Charles J. Ingerson

I WENT, DIDN’T COME BACK

(Prelude:

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence: February 2002A sinking sun
bugs all over
sweating begun
night for cover

Seems I go
away to there
dreams to grow
as if to dare

Either to the West
or the East to sail
with no life vest
on the ocean pale

Grandeur of parades
hearing the cheers
no more cannonades
only left are fears

How many with me
counting of no use
endless names to see
prepared for abuse

I went to go there
didn’t come back
endless to stare
but not in a sack

Someone else went
someone else returned
someone else spent
in a life now burned.)

Where

Was it a Nam
or a Korea
maybe in Europe
or in Africa?

Was it to kill
was it to serve
was it my will
or destiny swerve?

Was it by sea
was it by plane
was it even real
who was to blame?

Where doesn’t matter
where can be here
where isn’t known
found in a dried tear

Who

Does it matter
a nurse a soldier
a marine a sailor
army or air force?

A doctor or code
an officer or enlisted
a civilian or mercenary
a coastie or grunt?

A kid almost adult
a dad or a son
a daughter or mother
a child to a man?

Grievous the pill
taken to subdue
identities of will
governments to sue

On the Wall

Names hang limp
glare of the sun
or chill of night
their work is done

Forgotten not all
remembered some
fighting this anger
their work is done

I look and ponder
not wanting to come
was told it’d help
their work is done

Stopping now and then
what is the total sum
all these names found
whose work is done?

My Body

Looks the same
outside looking in
even the name
lingers within

A little heavier some
not in much shape
longer to get done
when the minds awake

Hanging in the dark
fearing the light
nerves now stark
raw from this fight

Hovering in a distance
those things I’ve done
wondering what instance
cowardice’s begun?

Does it make sense
no longer to stand
with people dense
who don’t understand?

Confrontations to fear
what will I do first
the enemy to clear
gasping air to thirst

How impotent I am
no longer to strike
this feeling ad nauseam
my emotions to spike

I went – didn’t come back
someone else is here
with skills I did lack
clenching fist and tear

(Epilogue:

Flags at half-mast
limply flying found
feelings to cast
shadows on ground

Never enough time
to remember when
I crossed some line
somewhere back then

Running in place
unable to move more
not in any race
just behind a door

Who knows where
I went to forever
not wanting to care
not that clever

Where am I now
didn’t come back
still gone somehow
intelligence I lack

In a sinking sun
bugs all over
sweating begun
night to uncover)